asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in view of the difficulties of coal distributors through shortage of labour, he will give a direction to local authorities to arrange for delivery of coal in their areas to those people who otherwise would suffer cold and hardship?
In several districts, where local difficulties in effecting deliveries have been encountered, very welcome assistance has been given by the local authorities concerned, as regards both labour and vehicles. Divisional Coal Officers have been encouraged to seek such assistance where necessary. On no occasion to my knowledge has a local authority, with labour and vehicles to spare, refused to assist.
My hon. Friend will know that during the last few days this matter has been given very close attention, and if he knows of any particular locality which requires immediate attention, perhaps he will let me know.
That is a very large question. There is a shortage of transport in some areas and also a shortage of labour, but what is needed is more mutual co-operation within the trade itself.